Monday, October 30, 2017

Sunrise over Reno

This sunrise in the direction of Reno reminded me of Frost's poem, Fire and Ice.  We're supposed to get the ice this coming weekend.  It's about time.  I think ice would suffice.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Roadside Meal

 The side of the road where the Shaggy Mane emerges every Fall was looking pretty dry all through October and I was wondering if they'd appear this year.  I drive by this spot every morning.  Then one morning - Voila! there they were.  To the mycologist they're Coprinus comatus.  To most everyone else they're either a culinary delight or something frightening.  To me, a photo op and a curiosity.  Anything that digests itself is fascinating.

Here they are, dripping their spores for next year's crop.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Saved by a rodent

 I've had trouble lately getting sufficiently inspired by my observations of nature to post upbeat descriptions of what I see.  In fact, I was on the brink of writing something about the President and his team of destroyers.  My friend in southern California who writes a blog called "The Way I See It," almost always describes what he finds to be beautiful - wildflowers, cultivated flowers, tree bark, the ocean, etc., - but during the past few months he has felt compelled to share how distraught he is over our current political situation.  We share the perception that the president is a dangerous buffoon and is in the process of destroying much of what we consider beautiful, not to mention necessary for our continued survival as a species.  But, what saved me from writing about this sort of thing was a dead chipmunk on my front lawn.  At first glance, I saw the red underside of the tail and the white belly and thought it was a Douglas Squirrel (AKA Chickaree), but when I tipped it over, I saw the stripes on the face which made it a chipmunk.  It's been a number of years since my taxonomic interest was focused on distinguishing among our many species of chipmunks, but I still enjoy a close-up view of most any wild mammal.  This one had cheeks full - probably acorns - and was rather wet and dark looking, so I couldn't match it with any of the chipmunk pictures in my field guides.  I'm just glad it was there to take my mind off Trump.

Just  a few yards away from this unfortunate chipmunk is a fresh pile of dirt pushed up by a gopher.  I'm hoping to trick it into showing itself some sunny afternoon - like maybe tomorrow. After I get a photo or two, I'll wish it well, then maybe get a video clip of it covering its hole.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Earth Tones Near Home, Part II

I hate the Internet service here!!!  I just loaded 5 photos and only one showed up.  Ugh.  Will try again later.  Did not get a chance this morning when I was in the presence of high speed Internet service.  I'm home again where I usually enjoy myself without the Internet, but I do want to blog.
The above leafy branches are of Cascara Buckthorn or Cascara Segrada, Rhamnus purshiana.
 Days later, maybe the neighborhood is still asleep, but the Internet speed was sufficient to add these four photos to my last post.  The color along our shared driveway has probably peaked.  The oaks, especially, are bright orange, and the Thimbleberry is about the same yellowish green.  The buckthorn (above) which to me has one of the handsomest leaves, is now losing its leaves rapidly.
 This early morning scene with the low sun sending beams slashing through openings in the tall firs and pines reminds me of our das in Leggett where bands of sunlight between the tall redwoods were a daily sight.
 Not many berries this year, but the Thimbleberry is still and attractive sight.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Earth Tones Near Home, Part i

 I took ten photos within 50 feet of where I park at home, and I love all of them.  However, the upload speed I'm paying for here is pathetic, so I'm splitting the collection in two.  Will post the other five tomorrow morning at the coffee shop.  Three cheers for Midtown Coffee.  I'll be able to load the remaining five in less than a minute.  The California Black Oaks along my driveway are intriguing in their varied speeds of turning color.  A few are still green.  The one above is the most colorful at this time.  A few others have lost most of their leaves and the remaining ones are brown.  Quite a contrast from some of the ones on Cemetery Hill that are bright reds and oranges.  Then there are the two in front of the former Papa's Donuts that might actually be cultivars.  They're incredibly bright and multi-colored.
 Over the years I've enjoyed Norma Lewis's pastels of the ends of stacked firewood, or entire logs at the mill.  I decided to see what I could do with the camera.  I haven't uncovered as many bugs this year while splitting and stacking our firewood.  So, the wood itself becomes a good subject.

 The background of pines and Douglas-fir and White Fir makes the oaks stand out all the more.
In tomorrow's set I'll have some Cascara Segrada and Thimbleberry. Time permitting, I'll also check out the nature trail loop at the college.  There's still some flowing water there and that should provide some aesthetic variety.  I like Fall.  Now we need some rain.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Better late than never.

Forgot to include in my last post this "panorama" closeup of the fading Autumn Crocus surrounded by colorful leaves from the nearby trees and a sprinkling of pine needles.  Scroll back a few posts to see the crocuses at the peak of their blooming a couple of weeks ago.  I'm not seeing much in the way of fungal caps so far this fall.  I've searched in vain for my favorite on campus, the Orange Peel Fungus.  I think I'm seeing lots fewer birds, too.  Creepy feeling to have a sense of loss of diversity at the same time the news is loaded with scary and depressing wildfire experiences.  The college had to cancel football practice a few times due to smoke coming in from 100 or more miles away.

Fall Colors

As I drove down Jackson Street toward the hospital in Quincy, the many different species of red leaves along the roadside caught my eye and I regretted no bringing my camera along.  I've tried to pay so much attention to always bringing my new phone along, that I've been neglecting the camera.  So, I had to go back.  For the past several years I have taken many photos of fall colors.  Many were the conventional scenics featuring the black oaks, cottonwoods, and native maples around Quincy.  But this year I've drawn a blank so far in October.  I parked my truck on the roadside opposite the aforementioned red leaves.  When I got out of the truck, I was struck by the huge patch of Mountain Snowberry.  Fall colors?  Actually, it is interesting to compare the color terminology of the physical sciences to that of artists.  WE get into wavelengths, hues, pigments vs. reflected and transmitted light, etc., etc.  All I know for sure is that if anyone asked "what color are those berries?" I'd answer "white."  If I shot a panoramic view of this berry patch, you'd only see tiny white dots, so I've reverted to my favorite format - close-ups. 
Then, across the street I zoomed in on a patch of non-native maples.  These were low to the ground, having recovered from an August meeting with the county's weed eaters.
Half way through October, I am vowing to bring the camera with me every day.  I'll continue to look for the unconventional.  The other is readily available on post cards and online. I'm loving the cold weather. It's so dry that we're still at high risk for wildfires, but I'm enjoying the lack of frost on my truck windows in the morning.  On second thought, the frost can be quite photogenic.  I don't dare predict what the weather will be like through the end of October.  There's still plenty of fresh bear poop on the streets in my neighborhood every morning.  Can't put the trash out until daylight.